WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......
THE CORPSE WHISPERER
THE REAL DEAL?
A narrow ray of light fell on Zelda's bowed head as the library doors soundlessly opened to admit Colonel Alex, licking chicken grease from his fingers as he extracted a cheroot from its leather case.
"Zelda! You're still here! Didn't I order Jeeves to throw, errrr, show you out?" he exclaimed. Moving over to the hearth to get a light for his cigar, he noticed Pshrynk's body with a disdainful curl of his lip.
"Oh, right, you were going to solve the murder mystery tonight, weren't you? Not doing too well with it are you? I see the body's still here but I don't see anyone in custody. Guess I'll have to step in as usual and straighten up things for myself."
The Colonel uncapped the speaking tube next to the fireplace, blew down it, and shouted "Hello! Jeeves! There's a mess in the library to clean up. Please come right away!"
A faint answer wafted from the bell of the tube "Very good sir. I'll bring a broom and dust pan, and be right there."
"Hah. Better bring a damn large dust pan, eh Zelda?"
"We missed you at the barbecue. Afraid it's all gone. That scrawny little chicken didn't have much meat on its bones, especially those skinny little legs. But beppe sure knows how to grill a gourmet galliforme!"
Zelda remained silent. She was too overwhelmed to think anymore, let alone engage in spirited repartee with the smirking Colonel. At least now one of her questions had been answered: they hadn't saved any chicken for her dinner.
"Si seulement toutes les réponses étaient si faciles à trouver."
The library door opened once again to admit Jeeves with his broom and dust pan, muttering "I never thought I'd find myself back in one of these penguin suits again! Ever! Thought I'd left all that behind me."
The Colonel motioned silently towards the huddled mass on the hearth. Jeeves, head bowed to contemplate the extent of damage to the furnishings, glided over and began to mop up the spilled ink with his handkerchief, making "Tch Tch" noises under his breath.
The Colonel settled himself comfortably on the sofa, puffed a perfect smoke ring, and gazed at the ornamental ceiling: "Probably wondering what was going on here tonight, aren't you? I imagine you have absolutely no clue who the murderer is, and why old Pshrynkie got himself offed again."
Zelda nodded dumbly, hiding her confused countenance from the Colonel, as she was forced to listen to a list of her shortcomings.
A maniacally hideous giggle seemed to emanate from the kneeling Jeeves, currently engaged in his attempt to lever Pshrynk's uncooperative body onto the dust pan. Zelda's head snapped toward the mismatched duo on the hearth, but only Jeeves' profile was visible -- a new but strangely familiar profile -- now frozen into impeccable immobility.
"Qu'est-ce qui va encore me tomber dessus ? des fantômes ? des démons ? des esprits maléfiques ?"
Zelda turned back to face the Colonel, but had that creeping sensation between her shoulder blades that told her she was being watched. Slowly, carefully she turned back towards Jeeves.
"Pilotbob! ..... Oh never mind. I know. Your name is Jeeves. Always has been Jeeves. Always will be Jeeves. No matter WHO you are! You're Jeeves. I get it! I accept it now! No more questions from me anymore! I'm with the program."
"Uh, Zelda, you feeling OK? I'm BOb! Remember me? Pilotbob? I'm just wearing my old avatar. OK? The guys got together for Halloween and decided that all of us would wear the same costume tonight and take turns being the butler! No one noticed at all. Except you! That's why they had to keep saying 'My name is Jeeves. Always has been. Jeeves. At your service.' It's been so much fun tonight ... fooling everybody ... that's why I was laughing just now. When you put on this "penguin suit" no one really looks at who's wearing it. They just see the suit, not the face.
It's been a joke tonight .... well
*looks down at the cooling corpse on the dust pan *
for most of us anyways.
You been drinking tonight Zelda? Your face is very pale and you've got wine spilled all over your skirt!"
"ça y est, je perds l'esprit ! J'en peux plus de cette folie !"
Zelda collapsed to the floor, feeling as if her brain had just exploded into a psychedelic shower of crimson confetti! It had all been just a joke - on her! Colonel Alex burst into hyena-like howls of laughter, pointing the glowing tip of his cigar at her twitching form: "Hah! Gotcha! Miss Smarty Pants Girl Detective!"
Zelda mercifully lost consciousness, joining Pshrynk on the library carpet.
[The curtain closes mercifully on this scene of tragedy.]
[Just what the heck IS going on here?]
[Can Zelda figure it out?]
[Can YOU figure it out?]